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© Courtesy of Galerie Jocelyn Wolff

78, rue Julien-Lacroix
75020 Paris
November 12th, 2010 - December 23rd, 2010
Opening: November 10th, 2010 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

20th Arrondissement
+33 (0)
Tue-Sat 11-7, and by appointment


The idea for this exhibition came about in the mist of a discussion about the place Franz
Erhard Walther should have occupied in the history of Conceptual as well as Preconceptual
Art. Although it has been the subject of reevaluation during the last twenty
years, Conceptual Art does prove to be more and more difficult to delimit, whether it be in
chronological, geographical or esthetic terms. In line with Thierry de Duve, certain
historians went as far as to say that it “didn’t exist”: “I would say there is no such thing as
Conceptual art. It doesn’t exist. It’s just a name.” Understandably, this difficulty reflects upon
the study of its roots, which were often neglected or bypassed by the specialists, who were
undoubtedly cautious of the idea of registering Conceptualism within the continuity or
proximity of partially incompatible tendencies (Fluxus, Minimal Art, Concrete Poetry).

Taking into consideration the official chronology that makes the conceptual movement
start in 1966 with the exhibition (Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper not
necessarily meant to be Viewed as Art) curated by Mel Bochner at the School of Visual Arts
in New York, the selected works and proposals for our exhibition date prior to this and
always deal with one or some criteria that thereafter became inextricable from Conceptual
Art. The importance the artists placed on processes (William Anastasi, Stanley Brouwn,
Yoko Ono) and instructions (William Anastasi, Stanley Brouwn, Yoko Ono), on
dematerialization (William Anastasi, George Brecht, John Cage) and tautology (William
Anastasi, Peter Roehr), on questioning the author’s status (Stanley Brouwn, Yoko Ono)
and on language (George Brecht, Heinz Gappmayr, Peter Roehr, Franz Erhard Walther)
indisputably announce the founding principles of Conceptualism. And if it is not about
claiming that they adhere completely, the inherent prodromic dimension turns out to be
convincing. In an effort to remain loyal to the mindset carried by a certain few of these
works and to avoid any vintage qualities that could prove undermining, we decided to opt
for the standpoint that consists in adapting them to contemporary technology. It is from
within this perspective and following a conversation with William Anastasi that his two
essential pieces (Sink and Microphone), whose conception dates the first third of the
1960s, became “updated”. The integration of propositions from young artists (Guillaume
Leblon, Elodie Seguin, Christoph Weber) from the gallery, which appear as veiled
references to other, major, protoconceptual figures (respectively Yves Klein, the On
Kawara before the date paintings, and Robert Morris), demonstrates how the after can
take a critical look at the before in a way which is as singular as it is vitalizing.
Erik Verhagen